fiver: thoughtful kitten! (thinking)
Dear Yuletide author,

First of all, thank you very much for writing for me! I look forward to whatever you produce.

Second, don't get too nervous--I love participating in exchanges.

I've made three requests this year from very different fandoms. Whichever one you decide to write for, here are some things I enjoy:
  • Humor, mixed with seriousness or not
  • Particularly odd romantic or sexual situations (if you want to go that way)
  • Character exploration

I don't care too much about specific canon details for the stories I've requested. I know that the canons in question--Marvel Comics, Lovecraft's mythos, and Final Fantasy--can play pretty fast and loose with the rules themselves sometimes.

I'll repeat my requests here for convenience.

#1: Black Widow (Comics)
  • In Nathan Edmondson's recent run on Black Widow, Natasha grudgingly adopted a black cat named Liho (an old-fashioned Russian word for "evil" or "bad luck" or "the devil"). I'd like to see a story exploring that side of her character--the reluctantly vulnerable side of her that takes care of small vulnerable creatures while still being tough as nails in her own way. If you're not familiar with that particular run, it doesn't have to be about Liho in particular, of course! But I do love cats.
  • I'm a Bucky/Natasha fan, but I have no problems with the story just being about Natasha, or about her relationships with other characters.

#2: The Cthulhu Mythos
  • I'm not picky about this one: I'd just like to see a more whimsical and positive take on all these eldritch abominations. Is there any way a relationship (of any kind) between a mortal human being and some kind of unfathomable elder god could actually work?
  • I've picked characters, but I don't really have specific attachments to them--any Lovecraftian or Cthulhu-esque horror you want to work with, I'm fine with.

#3: Final Fantasy IV
  • Final Fantasy IV is a pretty bare-bones game as plot and characterization goes, considering its era--but I've always been curious how the relationship between spoiled prince Edge and mysterious troubled summoner Rydia would have developed if it had been expanded beyond jokes and hints.
  • I don't necessarily want to see them hook up and have babies ever after, but I'd like to see some exploration of the brief dynamic between them in canon where he flirts and she brushes him off awkwardly but shows some kind of interest at the end.
  • I still haven't played the After Years, so I'd prefer not to get too deep into that.

Once again, thank you, and I hope you enjoy writing for me!

fiver: Moeblob goes yay! (positivity)
I didn't write as much fanfiction as I'd have liked this past year, but I'll give an account of what I did write.

Fandoms: Dragon Age, Marvel Cinematic Universe, Marvel Comics, Fate/stay night, Undertale, Fate/EXTRA.

The words. )

As you can see, there's quite a gap here--thanks to moving and everything else, I got a bit too wiped to write fanfiction for a good half the year. I'm going to try to pick up again now, or at least write something. If you have any suggestions, I'm open to them...


Jul. 22nd, 2014 02:29 pm
fiver: thoughtful kitten! (thinking)
Life goes on, and I continue to ignore this corner of the internet for the most part, but today I'll do something unusual and make a post. It's about t-shirts. Specifically, I decided to tally up all the shirts I've gotten from Threadless over the past six years or so, look at the designs, and ponder what they say about my taste. Other than the fact that I need to be separated from Threadless for my own good.

It turns out I've bought twenty-nine shirts over the years, or approximately five per year (of course, 2014 isn't over yet...). What's surprising (or not surprising, depending on your point of view, is how neatly they fall into certain categories.

List under the cut, in no particular order. )

The top category, with five shirts (or six if you count #21), is cats: #4, #5, #6, #7, #8 (and maybe #21).
Then there's tentacles, with five shirts: #10, #11, #13, #16, #29.
Also skulls, with four shirts: #9, #15, #17, #23.
And dragons, with three shirts: #19, #20, #27.
Finally, cityscapes, with two shirts: #12 and #24.

The takeaway from this is that I'm predictable, and I really need that plush kitten with tentacles.
fiver: Moeblob goes yay! (positivity)

»»» 1. Decide you want me to write you a short piece of fanfiction.
»»» 2. Comment here with a fandom, character, or relationship (romantic or otherwise), as well as some kind of prompt: an image, some poetry or lyrics, a scenario...whatever you think would be most helpful.
»»» 3. I write you a short fanfiction by the end of the month.
»»» 4. My main fandoms right now are Type-Moon's Fate, Fire Emblem: Awakening, and Puella Magi Madoka Magica. I can also give Attack on Titan or maybe an older fandom a shot. Run it by me first if you're not sure.
fiver: sad magical girls in love and despair. (hope)
A quick, mostly non-spoilery summary of the first two Madoka Magica movies:
★ The first one is just a recap of episodes one through eight with some new animation and a lot of enhanced music and re-recorded dialogue. The second one is just the last four episodes with a tiny bit of new stuff added in, plus the same extras as the first.
★ Sayaka confirmed for heroine of the first movie.
★ Homura confirmed for heroine of the second movie.
★ The new opening is essentially just a Madoka/Homura AMV. How does anyone still doubt that it is canon? Seriously.
★ Isn't it sad, Mami? She got shafted hard for screen time.
★ On the other hand, the new Kalafina version of "Credens Justitiam" is probably capable of aurally inducing orgasms.
★ The trailer for the third movie has me really damn excited. It's also pretty gay. But what else is new?

A quick, spoilery summary of my day:
★ I now want to write a tragic Mami/Madoka fanfiction entitled "Cake or Death."
★ Every decision I made today was excellent.
★ Except maybe the one where I thought I should have nothing but a pretzel dog and a cinnamon pretzel from Auntie Anne's for dinner.
★ Yeah, not that one.
fiver: Moeblob goes yay! (positivity)
Here are some things that have been going on with me, in no particular order of importance.

☀ I've been recovering from a really ugly episode of depression; hopefully, in the process, I've been gaining some tools and self-awareness to prevent things like it in the future.
☀ After six years of muttering about how much I liked this one character and pairing in it but could never get through the damn visual novel, I flung myself at Fate/stay night and became completely consumed by it. Also, I was wrong to think I would be utterly enamored of Archer and Rin/Archer. I'm actually completely and soul-crushingly obsessed with them. I've been thinking for six years that I'd love them and I wasn't prepared.
☀ This means that I'm back in fandom actively again, for the Fate franchise and for Puella Magi Madoka Magica. But I've also been gathering up some tools for not letting the toxic parts of fandom get to me. Which means not letting myself be shamed or guilted into fights over the social justice problems in my favorite series, even if that would be the right thing to do, because I can't handle it.
☀ I have a really good therapist.
☀ I have a lot of extensive fanfiction ideas.
☀ I also have some quite nice original fiction ideas, but they're on the backburner at the moment.
☀ I'm signed up for a program that will help me go to school at the local community college--hopefully starting in January. Said college has a couple of two-year video game design and development tracks. I want to try one of those. I know that it's a tough field to make a career in, but I think I have more chance of actually getting through such a program than I would if I tried to force myself through one I'm not interested in because "the degree is for something practical."
☀ I switched from drinking coffee to drinking tea. When you use loose leaves and have a proper infuser, tea is great.
fiver: rin and archer being OTP. (all these feelings)
It's been a long time and the original form of my fandom preferences post, despite (or perhaps because of) how often I added stuff onto it and tweaked it, is both unwieldy and out of date. So let's have a reset.

All these shiny fictional things I have ridiculous feelings about. )
fiver: rin and archer being OTP. (all these feelings)
For the first time since mid-November last year, I wrote fanfiction. 1,568 words of Rin/Archer awkward angst that is also basically a character study. Or something.

I want to write so much more. Part of me hates that I've been sucked into such a screwed-up canon and fandom so thoroughly--and part of me does not care, because I am enjoying it so much.

In addition, I've been spilling out a lot of ideas for a much, much longer and plottier Rin/Archer AU post-UBW futurefic.

I also have Archer at [community profile] capeandcowl now. I am so pleased. So very pleased.
fiver: rin and archer being OTP. (all these feelings)
So last night I finished Unlimited Blade Works and cried so hard I had to turn auto-read off for a bit.

It's annoying, because there are a lot of things that mean I can't recommend Fate/stay night without qualifications--the hideous stilted translation, the terrible pacing, the gross problematic gender stuff inserted to drive sales with waifu fanboys, maybe even the unabashedly ridiculous over-the-top anime feel of it (although I don't really mind that, except when I occasionally go "augh everyone is acting so much like a goddamn anime character in this scene"). But good God, is Kinoko Nasu ever devoted to characterizing his beautifully traumatized people in the most loving and soul-crushing ways, and do the themes and characters and relationships thus ever hit my narrative kinks.

Archer is actually just a perfect crystallization of everything I want in an angsty, screwed-up, broken character. And Rin's relationship with him stomps all over my pairing kinks. Rin herself is also amazing, by the way.

I already have a pretty good idea of the post-UBW Rin/Archer fanfic I want to write--it's one I had an idea for six years ago when I first tried to watch the anime, but of course wasn't able to flesh out until now. As a bonus, I'll be able to weave Fate/Extra characters into it. Maybe I'll talk about it here later.

I also put in my application for Archer at [community profile] capeandcowl. Yes, I should have waited until finishing Heaven's Feel, but it's long as hell and I plan to finish Fate/Zero first and I had the application finished anyway, so here goes.

My Tumblr is now basically a Fate blog with cats (or a cat blog with Fate, whichever), and I continue to descend into the mad abyss of fangirling. I'm vaguely irritated at myself for spending some two and a half years searching and searching for a new character who would smash into my heart the way Lockon did when that exact character was already waiting for me and I knew it perfectly well, I just couldn't bring myself to slog through the visual novel. But whatever. I have him now.
fiver: (following the river of death downstream)
I hammered out some conclusions about my character type recently.

TL;DR, Hell, and Fate. )
fiver: thoughtful kitten! (thinking)
I'm doing all right for some values of all right, but my attention span is an expanding cloud of glitter floating gently in the breeze. If things go well, that should improve soon, but right now I'm pretty useless for any task that requires sustained concentration. At all. I'd like it if that were to change.

Some time back I analyzed the various traits in fictional characters that can push me to fixate on and obsess over them. It was rather detailed, which is something of a shame as I've since come to the conclusion that I can express the factors involved quite simply: I fall into orbit around (typically male) characters composed of some combination of psychological facades and emotional sleight of hand; an alternately self-sacrificing and self-destructive nature; and the capacity for intense and passionate emotion, especially if the emotion in question is a driving anger. Of course this has evolved over the years (only the fascination with heroic sacrifice in fiction has been with me as long as I can remember), and I've attached myself to several characters who don't fit it very well in the past (usually as a result of the text playing up their charisma and larger-than-life nature, which is a sort of wildcard factor in this science). But I need to be able to root them in those three things--and ultimately also in an essential nature that is in conflict with itself, which tends to manifest as self-destructiveness of some kind.

I don't always know who's going to do this for me. The situation I'm in now--of entering a huge and complex text with virtual certainty about what character and pairing are going to light me up--is an aberration and has a lot to do with the fact that I felt the sparks six years ago when I flirted with the tepid anime adaptation. Anyway, I named my PSP Tohsaka, so I'm pretty secure in this.

I was going to talk about the three ideas I have so far for Madoka Magica fanfiction here (one short thing that's Mami-centric and kind of Mami/Madoka, and two vague ideas for lengthier stuff, both complicated what-if AUs, one Mami/Kyouko and one Kyouko/Sayaka), but at this point I might as well save that for another post. Stay tuned.
fiver: thoughtful kitten! (thinking)
So I think that, in honor of having an anime blog which I should really get back to posting on now that some of my personal troubles have lessened, I will make a valiant attempt to keep up with some anime series as they air starting this fall. Let's go over the series in question.

Under the cut. )
fiver: Shizuru and almost a kiss. (love)
I'm thinking tonight about two of my favorite scenes in anime, and some of the associations they have, and I felt like rambling (quite a bit more than I initially intended, as it turns out).

They aren't necessarily the best scenes I've watched in anime. I mean, I do think both of the scenes I'm going to talk about really are great (though one also has its problems), and that's no doubt part of why I react so well to them, but that's not really the point.

They're both intense and dramatic expressions of terrifying, destructive love from one female character to another.

Spoilers for Mai-HiME episodes 22/23 and Madoka Magica episode 10, though. )

I don't know what to make of it. Probably I shouldn't take any of this too seriously, and neither should you.
fiver: sad magical girls in love and despair. (hope)
Puella Magi Madoka Magica
Good: This show has a reputation for being either brilliant or overrated, and as such I went in with extremely high expectations, so it seems wrong to say that the show wound up meeting them. But it kind of did, at least in its technical excellence. It is a really, really good series in many different ways. If you can adapt to the stylized, childishly simplistic art, the animation is gorgeous and beautifully composed. The music is terrific. The themes and concepts being addressed through the narrative are complex and weighty. The characters are easy to care about and reward you for doing so. The overall writing is excellent, and some of the dialogue is incredible.
Bad: I don't really consider this show to have much in the way of objective problems, aside from some potential issues with pacing and plot structure--the middle third of the show is kind of weak in coherent and substantial plot, and the function of the final two episodes as a satisfying resolution is questionable. Indeed a whole lot of the series relies on using emotion more than action to advance the story, which is always a gamble. If it works, it's fantastic, but if it doesn't, you've lost viewers. Which brings me to my point here. What I do consider the show to have is an enormous capacity to polarize its audience. Whether you like it or can't stand it is very strongly dependent on your preferences, so try to take that into account and by all means walk away if you decide it's not to your taste. But don't spoil yourself too badly investigating.
My Favorite Part: The tenth episode is, I think, one of the best individual episodes of anime I've ever seen. Madoka and Homura's relationship is completely heart-wrenching. Ultimately, though, the peculiarities of my experience with this series mean that right now my favorite part is probably the show's conceptual and thematic framework.
Comments: The problem here is that it took me nine episodes to shed the cloak of detachment I had made for myself out of spoilers and analytical thinking. I had the basic themes of the series mapped out by the fourth or fifth episode, along with how they corresponded to each character arc, relationship, and plot twist, which is really unusual for me and fiction. Since Madoka Magica relies heavily on emotional manipulation of the viewer, this was kind of a problem. I think I might be able to fix some of this through rewatching bits and pieces, but it's thrown the whole thing into a weird place for me. Even though it was ultimately Madoka and Homura who got through to me emotionally, it's Kyouko I'm thinking of roleplaying. And I have about ten years' worth of commentary and analysis to regurgitate. I don't know what to make of it all.

You should watch it if you...
♦ Have a fondness for the tenets of cosmic horror, but would like to see it brought down to a more personal level for once.
♦ Revel in angst and melodrama without shame.
♦ You'll notice I'm not rattling off anything about "strong female characters" or the like! It's true that this show pretty much exclusively revolves around teenage girls, all of whom are meaningful and active characters, but I think in this particular case, one's opinion of the themes and the atmosphere of the series outweighs that aspect too much for it to really matter. I should note that this isn't because it's a seinen show, though (and anyway interviews indicate that the creators weren't too wedded to the male demographic; they've said they targeted the show at adult anime fans in general), and in fact I'm pretty sick of being told that it's wrong to enjoy such stories when they're targeted at men or else you're a vile neckbeard. I will say, however, that there is virtually no sexual fanservice in this show, aside from some tame shots in the opening.
♦ Seriously, if you're of the Bujold school of thought that plots by thinking up worse and worse things to do to characters, this is up your alley. I don't know what else to say without spoiling more than I already have.

Notes on influences and other texts
If you like [X], you should watch this: Neon Genesis Evangelion, Final Fantasy VIII (or even what it could have been), Shin Megami Tensei properties in general and Persona in particular, Sandman (and a number of similar Vertigo properties, such as Lucifer and Hellblazer at its best).
Additional notes: There are also a number of other canons I can relate Madoka Magica to without making a clear proclamation that someone who liked them would like it--which is to say, they share philosophical influences, address some of the same tropes, grapple with similar themes, use the narrative for related purposes, but don't necessarily belong to quite the same traditions, and they definitely don't all reach the same conclusions. Roll call: Magic Knight Rayearth (there is a thesis to be written on the conceptual relationship between Puella Magi Madoka Magica and Magic Knight Rayearth), Princess Tutu, Persona (the second and third games the most, I think).
fiver: Gundam pilot looking serious. (mecha stuff)
Well, it looks like my anime blog is up and running. Promote it if you want.

I have a lot of self-indulgent, pointless things I want to talk about there. For a preview, the ideas for posts lined up in my notes touch on narrative structure and ways to evaluate it; themes of transhumanism in science fiction and the deconstruction of them (with a primary nod to Evangelion and Gurren Lagann); awesome mecha designs; gender and sexual identity; translation and localization quality; the way adaptation from one medium to another works (with Terra e... as the role model); relationship dynamics in fiction across genres and demographics; the repetition of metaphors and themes within long-running franchises; and the construction, display, and recognition of identity within Western anime fandom. I'll also try to do reviews of individual anime, games, and manga. It's going to get pretentious up in here.

For now, I'm going to try to stop getting distracted and finish the first Ace Attorney game. I really like Lana Skye, and I hope I will conclude this game with a desire to roleplay her on the internets.
fiver: Moeblob goes yay! (positivity)
Let's talk about impossible but awesome anime/manga development team-ups.

Kinoko Nasu and Keiko Takemiya. Nasu creates the female characters, Takemiya reminds him to treat them decently as she busies herself with writing in blatant yaoi subtext for the dudes.

Takako Shimura and CLAMP give each other lessons on finding the middle ground between touching but vaguely tedious slow-paced slice-of-life realism and absurd over-the-top balls-out romanticized melodrama full of self-indulgent and occasionally creepy fetishes. Heterosexuality does not exist in the world they create.

Cross-cultural genocide inducer: Yoshiyuki Tomino and George R. R. Martin. No life will survive. Except the guy played by Sean Bean, just for kicks.

Gen Urobuchi and Hiroyuki Imaishi. The outrageous flashy sexy campy characters and story actually turn out to conceal pure evil and despair. It would probably be called Nyarlatto-chan Boin Boin.

Kaishaku and Kouga Yun have a gay fanservice battle to the death over their new manga, and the resulting product destroys Western fandom entirely in a massive explosion of THAT IS SO DISGUSTING AND OFFENSIVE.

Shouji Kawamori supplements Moto Hagio's heartbreaking tale of gender-changing soulmates in space with mecha designs and advice on when the characters should burst into song.

Ryohgo Narita, Gen Urobuchi, and Kinoko Nasu play a tabletop RPG campaign together and then turn it into light novels. Wait, that one's actually happening. Carry on.

Yoko Kanno does the music for all of these. Every single one. This also actually happens, though. Half the time when I go to look up who was involved in a favorite anime's awesome music, it's her.

I didn't get a whole lot of sleep last night.
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